San Antonio, Texas is saving water and saving the Texas blind salamander. The Texas blind salamander (Eurycea rathbuni) is a rare, endemic, aquatic salamander only 5 inches long that lives in underground cave streams. They have no functioning eyes and little skin pigment making them appear white. These unique salamanders hunt prey in the pitch black caverns by detecting water pressure changes created by moving prey. This species is listed as Endangered because it is only found within the Edwards Aquifer system near San Antonio. Extensive draining of the aquifer for human usage was threatening the survival of the salamander. The Edwards Aquifer Authority was formed to help save the Texas blind salamander and six other endemic species associated with the aquifer. Since 1984, San Antonio has experienced a 42% drop in per capita water demand. The city and its residents have implemented water conservation measures such as installing low flush toilets, reducing lawn watering, and using precision sprinklers for farm lands. Hopefully, these and other water conservation methods will help the strange little Texas blind salamander continue to stalk prey through the midnight caves of the Edwards Aquifer. Read Article.
Texas blind salamander (c)Joe N. Fries
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